Catapulted from the cosy world of university and into the cold, hard reality of the world of work, many new graduates feel quite understandably lost. The first 6 months to a year can be especially hard on new graduates as they struggle to find their path and perhaps begin to compare their achievements or direction to those of their peers.
There can be an initial frenzy of social media posts about people securing “amazing” jobs or taking time out to travel and if you’ve neither secured an amazing job nor made plans to travel, you’ll quite possibly begin to feel a little insecure.
The first thing to acknowledge is that this is perfectly normal, acceptable and correct. You’re simply adjusting to your new status as a graduate rather than a student and that’s always tricky but don’t take your decisions, your outcomes or your mistakes so seriously that you fall into a period of navel gazing or even depression.
Watch out for yourself. Take your time and pursue your goals in your own time. You’ve achieved an incredibly wonderful thing in completing your education. Plenty of people don’t manage that but still go on to succeed in their chosen field. With a degree at your back, you are desirable as an employee and your ideal employer is out there somewhere.
Know your worth! You did the research and you wrote the essays; you made those deadlines and got the grades…you’re an asset!
You haven’t found the perfect job…what next?
Don’t give up. Don’t get down on yourself so soon! Remember that just because you’ve completed your degree, it doesn’t mean you have to stop developing or learning. Now is the perfect opportunity to build and to hone your skills. If you can possibly find part-time work to sustain yourself, you can consider an internship or you can find a mentor or perhaps undertake some professional development courses or workshops. There are always more qualifications to gain which will make you even more employable.
Network, network, network
Yes…and then network some more. The key to your future success could be held by someone you’ve yet to meet. The more you network, the more opportunities you will find presenting themselves to you. And that’s the beauty of networking…it really does work and once you’ve been to a few events and made the effort to reconnect with your fellow graduates, you will begin to see those opportunities and contacts arriving at your door.
Consider your networking responsibilities as just that…responsibilities. You may not yet have your dream job but your networking efforts are part and parcel of your journey towards that dream job. Networking isn’t something to dip into now and then; it’s an ongoing project and something which gets much easier with practice.
The more you push yourself, the more people you will meet and the more people you meet, the more you learn. Learning about new opportunities is just one aspect of networking though; a huge part of networking is being an active member of your professional community.
It’s never too late to forge relationships with potential employers
As a graduate in Animal Health, you’re probably more than well aware that launching your perfect career can come with challenges of all kinds. You need practical experience but if you’ve not managed to garner experience in the exact field you’re interested in then it can feel a bit like hitting a brick wall. If you can’t find your ideal graduate position in animal health, don’t despair.
Seek independent work experience or sign up with a specialist recruitment agency such as Aicila.
You could also consider taking on part-time work or work experience on a property or business which runs production animals or within livestock production industries.
Join the relevant professional bodies so that you’re always well-informed of industry trends and special events and so that you will learn of skills-gaps in the sector too.
The more boxes you can tick, the more competitive your applications for your ideal jobs will become.
The field is very broad
One of the most exciting aspects of your degree in animal health is just how broad the opportunities are. The multidisciplinary nature of your future career prospects is exciting. Look at some of the options.
- Livestock production and agribusiness
- Animal Nutrition and feedmilling
- Veterinary sales, marketing or technical services
- Regulatory affairs and quality control
- Breeding and genetics
- Government policy
- Clinical research/R&D
- Animal welfare
- Animal behaviour/training
- Disease control
You can even choose the speciality in which you’re most interested.
- Companion animal
- Beef/dairy cattle, sheep, goats and other ruminants
- Swine and poultry production
The list goes on and there are many, many more than are listed here. Your degree is very transferable and you won’t find it difficult to uncover an area which interests you.
Another option is to sign up with a specialist recruitment agency such as Aicila. Working with a specialist recruitment agency as you consider careers in animal health can only broaden your scope further. Your new career could offer travel opportunities in addition to a great start for your career.
Aicila work on assignments all over the world including, Asia Pacific, Middle East/Africa and Europe. We have a dedicated team placed strategically across these markets. So with any luck you could be broadening your horizons in addition to your resume! You might soon be working your dream job in an exciting new environment!
Your journey is your own
Remember that graduating and starting your career isn’t always the neatly packaged experience you might have imagined and that’s ok. Your journey as a new graduate is just that…yours. As such it’s completely unique and comparing it to that of your peers won’t be of any value to you.
The best way to move forward with energy and vigour, is to remain true to your own ambitions but open-minded and with the understanding that pathways can change, cross over and eventually take you to a destination you never even considered but which turns out to be just where you wanted to be all along.
Alicia Keenan is the Managing Director at The Aicila Group- a globally active and highly specialised animal health/nutrition and animal production recruitment and consulting company with HQ in Australia.